Alonso reprimanded as tension with FIA ramps up

alonso f1 reprimand

Fernando Alonso was reprimanded by FIA race stewards for a driving offence in Spanish Grand Prix practice on Friday after earlier accusing a separate set of officials of incompetent and unprofessional behaviour in Miami two weeks ago.

The twice world champion was ruled on Friday to have impeded Mercedes’ seven times F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton in the day’s first session at the Circuit de Catalunya. It was his first reprimand of the season.

The Alpine driver had earlier blasted stewards for handing him two five-second penalties at the previous race in Miami, the last dropping him from eighth at the finish to 11th.

“We believed that it was very unfair and it was just incompetence from the stewards,” the 40-year-old told reporters. “They were not very professional.”

The governing FIA, whose international sporting code lists a range of penalties from a warning to exclusion, said it would respond. But Alonso was later seen in conversation with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem in the paddock.

The Spaniard had accused the four Miami stewards, who included 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1988 CART champion Danny Sullivan, of making their minds up without hearing evidence in his defence.

Alonso added: “We arrived after the race with proof that we had given the time back that we gained and they (the stewards) were just packing up. They were not even in the room.

“We showed them all the data, so they said give us five minutes and then they found themselves with their hands tied probably because they had issued already the penalty.

“It’s already the past but it is something that should not happen in F1 with the professionalism and standard that F1 has.”

Alonso also suggested race director Niels Wittich, who is sharing the role with Eduardo Freitas following the removal of Michael Masi after a controversial 2021 season-ender in Abu Dhabi, lacked the necessary knowledge of racing.

The Spaniard said there was still plenty of room for improvement. Freitas is in charge this weekend after Wittich handled the opening five races.

“Freitas has a lot more experience with WEC (world endurance) and other categories at the top level and I think that will already improve things,” said Alonso. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)